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tv   Invisible Nation  CSPAN  October 15, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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and progress had been intentionally reversed over the course of the last 30 years. if a foreign power had announced that was its plan for america, we would have gone to war. >> you can watch this and other programs online at [inaudible conversations] >> and we're back live in nashville, and here's author richard schweid live from the southern festival of books. [inaudible conversations] >> thank you all very much for coming. thanks, of course, to the southern festival of books. .. open the
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floor to questions so without further ado one thing i want to mention, a lot of people tend to conflate all families with chronically homeless individuals and they are two populations with different sets of needs so you might bear that in mind.
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the introduction to my book is called the family room, a place to sleep. for most of us it is a given in our lives along with a roof over our heads and our own front door to close, ever since the beginning of the european colonization of north america jamestown in 1607 and the mayflower pilgrims plymouth colony in 1620, communities on the source have had to deal with those among them who did not have a place to sleep, people who could not provide for themselves or their children and had no one to give them shelter. despite the fact the new world offered any able-bodied person an abundance of seafood and fertile soil life was not easy. disease, war and accidents were constantly leaving families to fend for themselves. a woman could be widowed in the blink of an eye, the loosing of
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an arrow or the bite of a mosquito. widows and children who depended on a man's hard work could suddenly be left with no support. women led to death during childbirth or cut down by fevers leaving a man behind to raise the children. for one reason or another some people have always found themselves trying to maintain families in the most precarious conditions. from the plymouth colony until today public officials have generally accepted the idea that they were responsible for the care of the extremely poor among them, local governments to some degree have always accepted an obligation to care for the poor, particularly those families who were indigent. in the winter of 2002, i was staying in a dearborn, michigan hotel researching a different topic when i began to wonder how that was currently being met.
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each morning i would rise in my room and go down the lobby to the highway for free donuts. neatly dressed and groomed boys, two girl standing by the front door waiting for a school bus, peering out, packs on their backs was one morning curiosity moved me to the who they were. homeless, the clerk said, the county sent them. their families must have had an unusually nasty run of bad luck. no, he said, the local shelter for homeless families was fool, the motel on the outer reaches of michigan avenue was always home to the overflow population. rooms paid for $60 a night by wayne county, one room to a family. don't worry, we don't let the kids have donuts in the morning. those are only for our paying guests. in the afternoon kids ran up and down the hall from one end to the other, raw michigan winter
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made it too cold to play outside for any length of time and they had energy to burn. hard for me to believe children in the united states were being raised in motel rooms with nowhere to play but long narrow hallways. i began to read about homeless families. the question how to relieve families living in desperate poverty has a long history the present situation is different and perhaps worse than it has ever been. never before has the number of homeless including so many single women with children. 50 years ago the word homeless signified dysfunctional individuals mostly men who drank heavily and slept around was now it is more likely to mean a young single mother with small children and a minimum wage job. in 1980 families with children made up only 1% of the nation's homeless. by 2014 that number was 37% of the total. naïvely i was shocked to learn over the course of 2002 more
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than 1 million children were homeless in the richest nation in the world, living in motel rooms and cars and shelters, doubled and tripled up, packed into houses of family or friends, the only constant condition being too many people in too little space. estimated one in 10 of homeless children live in a motel and families usually included a single parent who could not get enough deposits together at the same time in an apartment but was able to scrape by. and that held minimum wage jobs. brothers, sisters and just a mother, and the man was around too. two double beds, and a big motel television. in dearborn the number of homeless families skyrocketed.
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in 2006, 1.6 million children experiencing homeless during the year. the number had risen to 2.5 million. in 2013, 20 million people were living in deep poverty with incomes less than half the official poverty rate. three times the number in such desperate straits from 1976, the growing gap between the haves and have nots created a pool of extremely poor families unmatched since the great depression, a vast flood tide of people adrift with nothing to hold onto. they spend long days and nights just getting by trying to make it through another week without spending money on anything but food and shelter while putting off going to the doctor or getting the car repaired. although they are frequently without resources they must deal with the same problems the rest of us, illness, substance abuse, sons and daughters in trouble, as we try to get through the day.
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this kind of the family poverty is happening not in isolated pockets across the country but in cities, counties and states from one end of the nation to another. somewhere in our home state children are growing up in motel rooms while others are living in cars, and the communal radar is okay with their parents to draw attention and bring trouble. these are not mentally ill people walking the streets wrapped in blankets or chronically homeless individuals pushing supermarket carts full of what they own, these are mothers trying to keep their children fed, sheltered and out of the hands of the authorities. it may seem these people's lives do not directly affect us. given when so many people live among us in such hardship their presence inevitably will have consequences for the communities eroding the underpinnings of the very society that nurtures us and forms our world. what does it mean if we are
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thriving when so many around the fire living in misery having such a hard time getting through each day. what does it mean for them and what does it mean for us? today is about poverty are closely linked to political affiliation, 2014 paul found 60% of republicans believe poverty is a result of decisions individuals have taken compared with only 24% of democrats. the belief that the poor are responsible for their own plight mitigates if not annuls the public responsibility, and those who cannot provide themselves. the substantial segment of our society holds to provide more than the barest assistance to homeless families to encourage them and discourage them from better educating themselves. social service workers and policymaker's spend years, even
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decades debating whether these families, to adulthood, and adulterated into society. they move among us and have them scared, scarred and emotionally stunted for life, raising another generation of 4 children. the view of these children through hard work, and good luck will grow up to pull themselves up but most will never have an opportunity to do so. various studies, 10 year plans are against family homelessness. all the while the gap continues to grow between rich and poor with more people sliding toward the bottom and taking families with them. i for one did not have any idea so many children were adrift around me. and traveling in this invisible nation the more i was astonished by the numbers but also became
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clear, interviewed social service providers and read histories of family poverty in the united states was then today we have the capacity to eradicate the 21st-century plague of homelessness. we know how to do it, we need only commit to doing so. that was the introduction. i will read a couple pages here, a couple more. i grew up in nashville, tennessee in -- grew up in nashville and figured it would solve the well as well as any other place to appreciate the reality based on homeless families. my childhood was privileged in a prosperous suburb. i knew i might gain no insight into the daily lives of homeless families by living side-by-side,
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these were people trapped, i had the ultimate privilege of being able to leave whenever i wanted, to parachute into their lives and understand in a few weeks ago's resumption, no one willing to jump into poverty, people fall into it. at least i would be breathing the same air as they were in the same sites in front of my eyes jumping to the same sinkhole. i wanted to understand how this could be happening in the united states, what was done over the last centuries to deal with family homelessness and what is or was not being done today. i started my research in november 2003 at trinity motel. they were easily assembled, rental car keys, swiss army knife, handheld tape recorder, $39.95 specialized tool required. and shock and outrage held.
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i would spend time putting my nose into other people's business, answering questions, recording interviews, trying to get an idea what life was like for millions of children living in motel rooms across the united states for a few months or years of their lives. and exit off of interstate 65 south, a 5 minute drive from downtown nashville in a neighborhood giving to folks having a rough go of it, people living in motels and trailer parks, a neighborhood in all the nation's midsized small cities, convenient businesses and cigarettes and lottery tickets, huge car lots on the front windshield, check cashing store front, and offering cheap goods for uncertain futures, the occasional sign in spanish chocked on a big black board in
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front of the garage indicating the presence of a certain latino population but the vast majority, this was a middle-class neighborhood in the 50s, michael douglas told me, he was balding, white, 50 years old, and the owner of charlie bob's restaurant, the only real eatery remaining and a good one. he was also a cook. it was a major route in and out of nashville. my dad bought three motels the rated aaa by the automobile association, this was before 1968 when the interstate went in, killed everything. my dad sold the motels, people bought them for girls working street deals, used them they didn't use them they still do. sex industry workers were not in short supply, women wearing too few clothes for the weather all
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dressed up with no place to go to be found walking along the side at any hour. as i was leaving the motel one evening a young woman with long stringy blonde hair and a spotty complexion was standing in an open doorway of a room, she met my eye as i pulled hard on the door behind me checking to make sure it had locked which he asked for a ride down the road to the market, a convenience store a few blocks away. it was cold and drizzly, she had on a blue jacket. she introduced herself as red. the reddest think about her was her left eye, bloodshot and drooping. you get high did you know. i used to, i said companionably. i don't know what you are doing here, everybody at this place is high today. i have a girlfriend which i dropped her off at the market and when i drove by half an hour later she was still there standing under the store roof's
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overhang, under an outside light in cold, wet night air. i almost have to offer her a ride but didn't and went back to the motel. my room was a world in itself though not one in which you would want to raise your children. it had a carpet topped with brown cigarettes that glowed like cockroaches sometimes they were. the bureau drawers were so nasty, i left my underclothes and suitcase to keep it shut and oppressively heavy smell of cigarette smoke on in the air and seeped into the walls and mirrors and every surface. there was no wastebasket, neither did the bathroom with a shower curtain and sink. i hung a plastic bag for my trash. or glasses were provided. in return for my $150 a week someone dropped a towel and change of betting each friday and gray sheets had small holes.
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the front desk was a plastic shield with a round hole in it. one happen to be there, which was not likely. beside the soul was a bunch of rules. some such as the one reading no visitors after 9:00 p.m. were not taken seriously. people came and went all night, knox rang out on doors, cars idled in the parking lot under the shadow lighting, issuing out of their tailpipes into the cold air. all visitors must sign in at the office. i never saw anyone doing so. one posted rule taken seriously, anyone evicted will have their things thrown away. on a regular basis families were evicted from rooms for not paying rent, they were locked out and all their belongings were forfeited. children's toys and favorite things were gone forever.
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anyone who has ever watched a young child form an attachment to a beat up raggedy doll or scrap of material or the way children fall all over themselves, affection, anger and everything who would nothing more than that leap soundlessly just about anywhere will understand sudden overnight loss may generate terrible anxiety. kids regularly arrived at school with only the shirts on their back, textbooks needed to be replaced. it happened frequently enough the teachers at schwab elementary school with 350 students from kindergarten through fourth grade kept kids clothes in various sizes, the school sat across four lanes from trinity, it was a solid and safe building opened in 1890, permanent and anchored behind the grassy turnaround that set
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off of the pike. it was like any school providing a structured day with rules to follow in things to learn. in 2003, 75% of the student body had been homeless, many kids who began the academic year and rolled in schwab would be attending a different school. and by the end of second grade, life for the children who lived in a dozen motel scattered around dickerson pike. it was a long way from what most had. this is where i never found myself in 30 years living in nashville as a child and adult which most who didn't pass this way went through with car doors locked. there were no community centers nor libraries. the neighborhood have dubious character, even the bookmobile
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was not serving. the closest libraries are a couple bus stops away a teacher at schwab told me. people who don't have money to pay for their rent, will not take bus fare to go through a library. kids who have nothing, family living in motel rooms, cooking on hot plates, might be a mom, dad, two or three kids in one room, the kids don't go home to anything close to a quiet, calm environment. even if they are not moving and they move a lot, turn over is greatest when rent is due. that is when people move. i think i will stop there. we will go on to talk a little bit about this. catherine was kind enough to accompany me and has a masters
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degree in social work from the university of tennessee and served as homeless education program supervisor of metro national public schools for 19 years, born and raised in nashville and serves numerous councils addressing needs of families experiencing homelessness but she taught me a whole lot about nashville, was kind enough to spend time talking to me and as the spaniards say she has no hair on her tongue which means she speaks the truth and doesn't hesitate to do so. so what kind of affect of homelessness is there? >> the biggest thing to understand is the students i work with are very diverse. avoid making generalizations, because you are homeless the deck is stacked against you. i worked with many students who are incredibly resilient. it is important to understand that from the beginning but i
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see so much strength, students and children and parents i work with. in terms of the challenges we see that makes the school they problematic for students, make their education a challenge, a big issue we see, student absences and from what richard described, moving very frequently, could be every month or every other month, if you're moving frequently, regular school attendance may be hard for a family to achieve even if it is a goal of theirs was we see kids with very poor attendance records, we provide special transportation for students to get to school even if they moved out of the area the bus would normally run but we see issues related to attendance and anxiety you touched on, as you can imagine going home at the end of the school day when the bell rings and the bus dropped you off and not knowing where you are going to go, if your parent is going to be waiting to get off the
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bus, not knowing if the friend or relative letting you stay at the house might have had a bad day and locked the doors and you may left outside. we see anxiety around those issues. the basics in terms of school supplies, school clothing, we do provide that for students, we have social workers and counselors who work with students who have needs that many of them pass under the radar. our families proudly announced their homelessness, they have needs, no great reluctance on the part of families to share the personal side of their story with school staff, someone getting involved, parents have fear of losing their children, a lot of that stuff guarded close to them and often reluctant to share that and that crates a greater sense of isolation if they are out on their own fighting the challenges of the struggles on their own. >> what do you see in terms of
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services? >> i have been the director of the program for 19 years, we do a really good job. i work in the student support service department at metro national schools, we get a federal grant the department of education but it is important the field of education we use a broad definition of homelessness, but it is a narrow definition, you have to be living on the streets, a lot of this chronically on the street, selling papers for money and things like that but the largest percentage of kids we serve, 70% of the 3000 students each year in metro schools are living with friends and relatives and for those who might not sound so bad, what we see is a pattern of families taking in by a cousin or friends and they wear their welcome out very quickly so we
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see kids who may temporarily stay for a month and the food bill is inflated and the electric bill is inflated and they push them out. abroad population, our program with the funding we receive we focus on stability, as they become homeless no matter where they live in the city we have funding to arrange special transportation but even if they lost their housing they can remain in school with friends they made an teachers they know in the neighborhood and community where they live and the basics of school supplies and school clothing. the challenge nationwide for school districts is achievement data for homeless students and as you can imagine in and out of school if you have gaps in your attendance, you are not there a large percentage of the day you will have gaps in your performance and as a nation that is where you struggle in large areas like davidson county,
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there are families housed and displaced and moved to davidson county covering a large geographic area but it is hard to deliver services outside, smaller communities might -- two high schools and a handful of elementary and middle schools that can't survive a lot of great services in the context of school days to meet the needs of students but in davidson county with students that are traveling a great distance to go to and from school and stay where they were it is difficult. from the transportation standpoint to offer services beyond that. >> if somebody calls you up and they say i have two kids at the school and we have been thrown out of the house for whatever reason what can we do? where can we go? what can you tell them? >> it was heartbreaking to get those calls, we get calls like
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that every day. in nashville we have a limited family shelter population, there are 7 or 9 shelters that take women, domestic violence issues, that is roughly 200 homeless beds per family and night and as i mentioned earlier my numbers are close to 3000 each school year so that is a huge gap. the city of nashville has worked hard over the last we 6 months to a year to develop a coordinated injury system with the notion being we want one number families can call so they don't have to call a long list of shelter agencies or churches, coordinated entry system, one primary number to be screened over the phone and be connected and referred to the most appropriate resource was what we saw 10 years ago was the highest functioning families, who had jobs, cars, a reasonable chance of getting back on their feet pretty quickly, went to the shelters that offered the
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greatest service so you had families who were homeless with the lowest level, the highest level of service and the coordinated entry system we are connecting flipped on its end, looks at families who were neediest, mothers with no work history, multiple childcare issues, limited education, limited work experience and placing them in shelter beds we do have that have expansive service and social workers who serve as cake managers so we are experimenting with the system now but as i mentioned earlier the gap between the need of how any need those high-level services and shelters and what is available is so very bad so we are working earnestly to direct to the appropriate resources but most often we continue to stay with friends and relatives and continue to pay $1200 a month to rent a
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hotel room. these families have significant income, someone might be working a minimum wage job, there is income you are paying up and down, well over $1200 a month for a motel room. that tiny room with two beds, a lot of hotels you have to pay an extra $10 a week to get the microwave that is not provided anymore. we do see families, it boils down to affordable housing in nashville. richard and i were raised in nashville and anyone who drove over here today, you have communities with fabulous development going on but what we see in our office is a lot of families were long-term renters living in the dickerson road area, families who have a voucher that pays a significant
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portion of their rent and landlord say i will pay $1000 to move out and that say that seems great so they take the thousand dollars and they can leave their landlords able to sell the home at a higher rate. affordable housing in nashville is the biggest community need we have, it has to be a concern and priority for the national community. the experience is great growth, and able to afford to limit. >> it was extensively, and published a paper, point out that many of the mothers and homeless families, many more than the general population have seen terrible domestic abuse,
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and suffer the same posttraumatic stress syndrome soldiers suffer from coming back from congress situations would i wonder if you speak to that and talk about problems, with a couple kids, history of domestic violence struggling with ptsd. >> we see women who have been traumatized, many of you were living in the city with the flood in 2010, i was nowhere near a body of water, we had water damage to our home, had to move to my parents house and even though i had to work with homeless families with a similar experience, 10 plus years at that time experiencing that myself through that unfortunate circumstance for our household even after 10 years had me looking at things differently
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because families talk about living with a friend or relative putting them out. it is after the first few weeks we were there. the long-term effect of that trauma on children, speaking with staff at harpers valley elementary school which is in bellevue, and licensure, the largest shelter in the city for women and children have the option for a neighborhood school, just about walks away with the option to go to bellevue, and we are seeing this, more student selecting that option and harper valley community, they want to know how to help students and reach to their families and one of the key things i realizes choosing much longer bus route many of us might not think about for elementary school students the beauty of that for those
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children if the are being totally removed physically from that chaotic shelter environment they are living day and night, i do think we were puzzling through homeless numbers, increasing this year or from the shelter choosing that long bus drive and for a lot of those families they see that as a physical way they can remove their children from all the turmoil that goes on in the shelter and sounds by and large children at harvard valley are driving here, they have some behavioral problems but for those children to have the 7 hour school day even with the long bus ride, a whole different environment benefits them tremendously. i our shelter communities are working very hard to offer housing and services that make families feel safe and protected. a lot of gone to care training,
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service providers are aware of the trauma families are experiencing so they are trying to tailor their services so they are incorporating the service with families but you have to think about all the families who can't get into shelter services living in these motels and i tell people even as a grown woman a lot of these hotels scared me and i would choose my time wisely, go early in the morning before people were active or before action to think as a grown woman how fearful they are to go to and children came home every day and they were young children and my concern because of the length of time i have done this work is a norm for a lot of children, not having that experience, i have a house, belongings, photographic,
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photos to chronicle their childhood. a lot of children and homeless situations don't have that. they don't have a special blanket or stuffed animal they take everywhere they go. they become adults on their own. that stability at home has not been modeled for them, something they have experienced. how do you expect to do that and once they reach the magical age of 18. >> one more question and we will take questions from you all. my question is if the authorities call you up, and and what would you tell them? >> affordable housing all over nashville, take the new construction, a very below-market rate which homelessness, a lot of things that contribute to it until
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illness, all those factors. the biggest issue and lack of affordable housing, and $1200 a month, and hotel situations, living in affordable housing, two bedroom units, and whether you do that through subsidies or flat out new developments i would leave that up -- looking at that critical issue of national growth as we prosper and build beautiful buildings for people to move here and live in we need to be sure we are taking care of who lived in the community and worked in the community and raise their families here to ensure they have a place. [applause] >> be glad to answer any questions. >> if you have questions step up to the mic. that is what we were advised to do.
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okay. i will repeat the question. [inaudible question] >> the question is about section 8 vouchers in 2010-11, how many of those were going across populations, i am not a section 8 voucher expert but in this day and age, it does you very little good. i have worked there 19 years and it is to be section 8 voucher was the golden ticket. if you were a family that called me and had that action 8 voucher you could hear the angels sing because you were going to get out but now there were reports from the commission that in one 6-month period, 60% or 40% of
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section 8 vouchers expired, landlords to rent to them. section 8 landlords are paying people to move out of their units because they won't participate in that program. i would say a lot of the section 8 vouchers are distributed to homeless families and individuals, like i mentioned they are assessing people and matching people with the greatest needs to these vouchers from the homelessness commission, held substantial number of single adults on the streets with section 8 pouches giving 300 individuals and those, don't know if the demographics of this were individuals who were living on the streets. >> other questions? i was wondering given the fact
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we have two presidential debates with the issue of homelessness with children is not even on the radar they talk about free college, community college education. given the fact we are just beginning to come to the end of a president who will be this transformative president and we still have homeless children, what are the prospects of ending homelessness for children in the second, third, fourth, fifth, or anytime in the 21st-century? >> i can't really say. it is obviously a national problem. federal money is obviously required and there are various ways without raising taxes where federal money could be obtained
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to apply to affordable housing, the problem then devolves on the community. even if communities receive federal funds have got to commit to using them for best practices and use them wisely and commit to eliminating family homelessness in their community. i went to two places that were interesting, both doing a good job reducing substantially family homelessness in the borders of their families, one was trenton, new jersey, which is a very poor city, very high crime rate. it looks like it has been through a war. doesn't look as bad as aleppo where people are emigrating from but it is bad but in mercer county where trenton is located, they applied some best practices and reduced homelessness among families considerably. i also went to fairfax,
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virginia, consistently one of the five richest counties in the united states. it has all the people who work in washington and don't want to live in washington and they go home to counties like fairfax which fairfax has committed as a community to ending family homelessness by 2018 and they have taken a bunch of structural steps and strategies, one thing they do in fairfax, and social service providers deal with families experiencing homeless, people fill them with real estate experience, landlords or real estate or know something about real estate in order, you can imagine fairfax, virginia, this entity they are finding it and enlisting landlords and various strategies involving
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landlord so these are two communities, economically with common ideas that they will not tolerate children in their community, and experiencing homelessness. that is what needs to be done. whether or not it will happen, i can't predict. but i do know that is what is necessary. >> i think across the country there are communities that drastically reduced their adult population. a lot of communities approach homelessness, chronic adult on the street there is generally a push, the va has funding, they are making great strides in terms of housing single adults and veterans, and working really well and this is about how --
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homeless children and it was light years from where we started. and the homeless community would be the one person in the room asking about children and families. and a hopeful place, and there is -- what is going on, there are many at the federal level to rapidly house families and that has improved. the recent study, what worked best, differing opinions about whether it is the section 8 voucher, we have a lot of agencies in the community doing rapid rehousing in the last two years the catholic charities provided management, we have seen better results from the program than we have, anything operating in the city in the last 5 years, safe haven family shelters, and the community is
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struggling with the best practices in our community and we will make great strides but if you don't have the affordable housing it doesn't matter what great services you have and that is frustration service, and can pay bills to get people into housing but can't find units and landlord and a lot of agencies, safe haven and a number of others, looking for people, looking at landlord engagement and recruitment and how do we get people who have properties in the community to work with service providers to move families out of houses. >> mentioned those little kids,
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$120, $1200 a month for housing, $40 a day. the kids in your motels, cost $40 a day, put up in hermitage every once in a while, $80 a night, that is a little more expensive, how does this compare to affordable housing? what does that cost a month? is it too expensive to go that route or is it cheaper for people at $80, which is $2400 a month? >> one thing i can tell you is when you are going to rent an apartment if you have a couple kids it is not just one month rent you got to put down a deposit, at least one more month and in many cities it is much
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more than one more month and you got to get the lights turned on and television connected and a lot of expenses involved and it is obvious once you do the math the amount of money you spent to put a family in a motel in hermitage if they have nowhere to go in the wintertime if you took that money and took federal funds to put in with it you can get them housed. the thing is a number of studies showed we can do that for a family. get them on their feet for however long it takes, two years, they stay in the house and you have them in a motel room they are going to be out of the housing and in more unfortunate circumstances. that makes economic sense as well to try to do housing
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assistance if there is housing available. >> not sure of a big push by hud who fund the majority of the homeless program in the city, they are pushing for homeless shelters and transitional housing, get someone into housing, shorten the shelter, shorten the period, if it is interrupted by any episode of homelessness they will share better if you funnel them into housing of their own and what we hear from case managers working closely with families together into housing landlords not only require these deposits, you also have to be able to document that you make three times the monthly rent amount and when you look at average apartments for $1,100 a month a family's income and adults are working in all the big hotels, working in restaurants we are funding for tourism and all that, those people won't afford an apartment so it really does, if you can
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get together property of available units and raise the rate that was affordable to families and individuals and anyone experiencing homelessness affordable housing accompanied with the right amount of wraparound services, not all families i work with have significant struggles with mental health, alcohol or depression. many had a medical crisis, lost a job, were out of work, vehicles were down, they were unable to go to work, and if you can take one bump and put them back in housing they can get by with very little service and if you look at the cost of hotels you have significant issues related to substance abuse, domestic violence, put them in housing and the wealth of services to provide them with regular routines case management with ongoing, monitor their progress before they fall again and that is a very viable and
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successful model that could work well in the national community. >> the other thing to point out along the same lines, communities that are doing well or increasing the amount of preventive measures that and somebody is in housing and they hit this bump or threatened with losing their housing, that is the time to step in before you have to shelter somebody, particularly important in nashville where shelters are always fool and there is a long waiting list for emergency family shelters, people sleeping in cars, sleeping tonight here in their cars and many of them their situation could have been prevented if someone had taken the correct steps. >> i work with open table
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national doing outreach and advocacy in the same area. thank you for bringing this to the 4, such an important issue. we see weekly a family of 5, family of 7 over and over coming to us that have burden recently evicted or about to be evicted so we know the crisis is great but we believe the crisis is way underestimated. measuring homelessness is a pit count meaning point in time, then in january i am sure you know probably, one of the coldest nights of the winter and very few families are caught in that, two hundred and is how many between 154 counted, that is of all homelessness in 2015, yet as you decca out, 3000 children experiencing homelessness, the number of
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children experiencing homelessness is greater. i am wondering about the 3000 number, do you think that is an accurate number? i know there will be children under age and children out of school and that doesn't count the custodial parent so that would have to be more like 6000 but the 3000 is an accurate representation -- >> i am sure it is not which families are unlikely to report homeless status, that is not how they approach it. if you look at a district outside, metro nashville, 84,000 students and approximately a more accurate account of exchange of homelessness at any point is 10% of that number, we have closer to 80,000 families. what happens in our program, so
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many families continue to be homeless year after year. families might start in a shelter, perhaps their time expires, they are forced to leave and go live with a friend or relative or in and out of motels so we have families recertify every year. we don't automatically roll from one year to the next and inevitably the school year will have a family call and say we have a program, you were in the program last year but there is great underrepresentation because family fail to report and we are seeing increasingly school personnel in terms of identifying homeless students, the situation is normal so we have a lot of education with school staff about the federal definition of homelessness, much broader than the definition, that is a big issue with point in time, our count is 70% of our kids don't qualify to be
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reported with hud guidelines, the discrepancy between the definitions we operate with so with the field of education a student is considered homeless if they lack fixed regular adequate nighttime residence, 70% of those relatives, 9% are in motels. >> 8000 families or 8000 children, that would leave parents of underage children, thank you very much. >> we are going to end it here and appreciate all of you coming. [applause] since i will be signing books at the colonnade for the next little while. thank you very much.
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[inaudible conversations] be change that was either richard schweid live from nashville for complete schedule of this weekend's coverage of the southern festival of books visit would you can follow us on social media at booktv, our twitter handle and in 10 minutes, darrell carter and dorothy padgett discuss their books on presidents clinton and carter. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> let me introduce you on the facebook page to tim henderson,
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executive director of humanities in tennessee. >> a private nonprofit just over 40 years, we do humanities, education based programs all over tennessee and one of our flagship programs is southern festival of books. if you're here for the 28th annual we are excited. >> how did the southern festival begin >> 28 years, began as a homecoming festival, regional riders together at the same time in downtown nashville and met with such success, folks rally around the cause, made an annual event going strong ever since, been in nashville downtown every year between 2 of those 28 years or a couple years we are doing it in downtown memphis but we have been in nashville every
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year. >> what puts on a book festival? >> we wind up somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 depending on the size of the event that your, 250 to 300 authors for a three day weekend. it is an expensive event to put on but we thankfully have a lot of support from individual contributors, which supports, it is in the neighborhood, be change how many people in legislative plasma? >> on the war memorial outside, they are taking place in the war memorial auditorium and the national public library, we
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expect somewhere from 25 to 25,000 people over a 3 day weekend. good support from tennessee's government. >> we get great support from the government tennessee arts commission, very supportive of the graham, the southern festival of books. >> does it have a southern tinged to the authors? >> great question. the authors who are participating are regional, many are local to tennessee. really the scope of the program over the course of the years has expanded. we have authors coming from all over the country and all over the world so that may have changed a bit, there is a regional flavor to the event.
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local food trucks are serving people all weekend, regional exhibitors from all over town to set up an exhibit over the course of the weekend but the program itself we think has really become especially diverse, not necessarily regional. as you well know there are book festivals all over the country, miami, you communicate -- the change the southern festival is one of the oldest book festival still going on. it is not uncommon to get calls from people looking to establish the festival just to talk about how we got started, that input we give with some regularity and
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the book festival, periodic communication, see what is going on, we do tours periodically, and do the same thing. >> what is the community like in nashville? >> strong and growing. you can look, a lot of authors. great renown. strong community riders, a great and growing community, that is where we are gathering around not only professional writers but folks who write for their own enjoyment and creative purposes and anyone who loves to read anything.
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>> we have ongoing collaboration in vanderbilt university, helping us program a special track every year. this year among a couple tracks we have going on we have one, all the king's men, the pulitzer prize is celebrating the 100th anniversary so the pulitzers at vanderbilt, and


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